Teens struggle with a significant amount of pressure, each and every day.
Sports goals, difficult homework, surging hormones and changing friendships can make even the most relaxed teenager feel tense, upset and angry. Some teens deal with these troubled feelings by turning to marijuana. Even though the drug is illegal, it’s readily available to many teens. In fact, some teens may think smoking marijuana is safe because the drug is sometimes provided to people with chronic illnesses.
Teens might experiment with marijuana because the drug can cause pleasurable symptoms such as:
- Profound relaxation
- An altered sense of space and time
- Increased ability to hear, see and smell
Teen Marijuana Rehab
While many teens may experiment with marijuana without becoming addicted, other teens aren’t quite so lucky. A report published in 2011 by the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that daily marijuana use is on the rise among teens in the United States. In 2009, 6.1 percent of 12th graders reported near daily use in the previous month, compared to 5.2 percent in 2009. Daily use of a drug generally qualifies as addiction. See more Marijuana Addiction Statistics.
Our inpatient treatment program is designed to help wean the teen from the drug, and help the teen learn new coping skills that could make addiction to other drugs and/or alcohol less likely. If, after reading this article, you believe that your teen has a serious problem with marijuana, we urge you to contact us and learn more about how our program can help your family.
Marijuana has been used as a recreational drug for decades, and it’s been illegal in the United States since the 1930s. The drug is known by a variety of other names such as:
- Mary Jane
Marijuana is often smoked in a cigarette or water pipe, but the small stems and leaves can also be made into tea or included in baked goods such as cookies or brownies. Some people place marijuana inside cigars after pulling out the tobacco leaves. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, will enter the user’s system through any of these methods.
Symptoms of Use
People who abuse marijuana may seem dizzy or silly, and they may have bloodshot eyes. These symptoms may seem harmless enough, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term abuse of marijuana could have a profound effect on the user’s ability to learn and retain information. Also, smoking the drug for long periods of time could severely damage the heart and lungs. It’s clear that, contrary to what teens might believe, marijuana use is dangerous. And, teens with addiction issues may need professional help to overcome it.
Spotting Those at Risk
In 2004, researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research developed a series of warning signs parents and family members can use to spot problem marijuana use among teens. According to researchers, teens who engage in the following behaviors are at higher risk:
- Smoking before age 15
- Drinking alcohol before age 15
- Missing school 20 or more times
- Being arrested for drug or alcohol use
- Believing that parents find drug or alcohol use acceptable
- Believing that drugs and alcohol are safe to use
A study from the journal Addictive Behaviors might add one more item to this list. In this study, researchers determined that teens struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were likely to medicate themselves with marijuana. This fact persisted, no matter what other variables the researchers looked for. Teens with mental health issues might be particularly at risk for marijuana abuse.
Marijuana Rehabilitation for Teens
Teens struggling with marijuana addiction often can’t beat the addiction alone. When they stop using the drug, they may feel intense cravings for the drug and those cravings may drive them to use once more. In addition, the teen may be surrounded by friends who also abuse the drug, and when the teen spends time with those friends, old habits hold sway and the teen begins to use once more.
Inpatient treatment programs can give these teens the help they need to beat addiction. In an inpatient treatment program, the teen moves into the facility for a specified period of time. Family members and selected friends may be asked to visit from time to time, just to help the teen stay connected, but the teen is living in a supervised environment away from all stresses and bad influences. This functions as a sort of reset button for the teen, allowing him or her to develop new habits and truly think about the addiction and craft a new plan for living.
Inpatient treatment programs also provide a significant amount of medical supervision. This can be of particular importance to teens who are struggling with mental health issues and addiction at the same time.
In an inpatient program, teens may receive:
- Medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms
- Medical monitoring, to ensure that the drug detoxification isn’t causing physical problems for the teen
- Intensive one-on-one sessions with a mental health specialist
- Medications to help treat anxiety, depression or stress
No inpatient program would be complete without group counseling sessions. Here, the teen can learn from other recovering addicts and find out more about how addiction tends to impact young people. Many inpatient programs encourage family members to come to the facility for family counseling sessions. Destructive communication habits within the family can drive the teen to addiction, and counselors can help families develop new sets of habits that are more supportive, kind and effective. This could be a major help for struggling teens.
When inpatient treatment programs are over, teens return home and once again they must deal with outside influences and choose to stay sober. While teens may have received significant help in an inpatient program, their recovery is fragile, and they are often prone to relapse into drug use. This can be frightening for parents to consider, but teens must receive therapies even after the inpatient program is complete in order to truly beat addiction. Families must also remember to be supportive during this time of transition.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates among chronic drug users are similar to relapse rates for chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes. When a person with diabetes has a relapse of the disease, people often blame the disease. When an addicted person has a relapse of addiction, people often blame the person. It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, and your teen will always have to work hard in recovery.
For some teens, 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous can provide extraordinary support. Here, teens listen to other recovering addicts talk about their addictions, and they learn how to cope with temptation. Teens are often paired with someone successfully in recovery, named their “sponsor”. Their “sponsor” is available at all times to help the teen deal with stresses and addiction struggles. As the teen begins to improve, he or she may be asked to mentor an addict who is new to the program. This is often some teen’s first experience with leadership, and teens strengthen in their own recovery as a result.
Recovery is a Lifestyle
Family members can help teens stay motivated by offering to drive them to meetings, offering to listen to them talk about addiction or offering to attend meetings as a supportive presence. Teens need to feel accepted and cared for by friends and most of all, by family, on their recovery journeys.